I think we would all agree that spring came none too soon. This is the time of year for renewal and revitalization. Here in New Brunswick, Canada, we watch the snow recede and the ice melt. The ground comes alive again with colorful flowers and green grass. The robins have started to return, while other birds have chosen their mates for the season. I, for one, am ready to get outside more regularly, take those much needed walks and get the first greens for our spring salads planted.

What better time to be motivated than spring, when new leaves burst forth on trees, flowers begin to break through the soil, birds begin nesting, and the warmth of the sun invigorates our tired bodies.

Most importantly, spring provides a reminder for us to focus on building stronger personal relationships. One of the best ways to do this is to be ever mindful of others’ feelings. We can begin by putting family, friends, and business associates ahead of ourselves through the act of listening. A verbal response is not always as necessary as a willing ear. Listening is one of the most sincere ways to show that we have respect for others. In turn, we show we have respect for ourselves.

For personal spring cleaning, focus on the basics. Be polite and do not forget your manners, whether at a tea party with friends, business mixer with associates, or dinner with family.

Remember to always look the person to whom you address directly in the eye. Develop a firm, positive handshake, one that conveys a genuine interest in the other person. In an introduction, repeat the person’s name then state it at least three times during your conversation, as a way to remember it correctly. People appreciate it when you call them by their own name, not someone else’s.

Smiling is always a way to express confidence and reassure the other person that this encounter is pleasing. Appropriate dress is always appreciated. Shirttails tucked in, hair combed, fingernails cleaned and hats removed (if indoors) fit into the ‘basics’ category.

Spring cleaning, renewal and revitalization can begin at home and spread throughout our world. Let’s all get involved and show others the respect we have for one another at all times.